Ralph Sallon

Ralph Sallon

Ralph Sallon, the son of Isaac Meyer Zelon, a woman's tailor, was born in Poland on 9th December 1899. The family fled from Tsarist persecution and in 1904 they settled amongst the Jewish community in Whitechapel. He attended Crouch End School and the Hornsey School of Art.

Sallon left art school in 1914 and worked in a canning factory and then as a clerk in a department store. In 1917 he was conscripted into the British Army. He served on the Western Front during the First World War. He remained in the army until 1921. In 1922 he moved to Durban, South Africa, where he worked for a relative and whilst there began contributing cartoons to The Natal Mercury. These proved popular so he decided to return to England and in 1925 enrolled to study fine art at St Martin's School of Art. However, he abandoned his studies when he was offered a job as a staff artist with Everybody's Weekly.

In 1930 he also became resident caricaturist on The Jewish Chronicle. He also contributed drawings to The Tatler, The Bystander, The Daily Mail, The Daily Sketch, Reader's Digest, The Sunday Observer and The Daily Express. During the Second World War he produced propaganda cartoons for aerial leaflets, for the government.

Mark Bryant has pointed out: "Though he often used photographs, Sallon preferred to work from life and drew in both colour and black-and-white with a pencil, pen and brush. As well as his newspaper contributions, he also worked in advertising for the GPO and others, produced anniversary books of caricatures of auto and motorcycle racing personalities for Shell-Mex/BP and two series of Vanity Fair-style full-colour caricature prints of eminent lawyers (1962) and Lord Chancellors (1989) for Butterworths."

In 1948 he joined The Daily Mirror where he worked with cartoonists such as Philip Zec, Victor Weisz and Stanley Franklin, who described Sallon as "one of the greatest caricaturists of all time". He continued to work for the newspaper for more than 40 years, eventually retiring in 1991 after being involved in a road accident.

Ralph Sallon died in Barnet General Hospital on 29th October 1999.